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Treon Harris Accuser Drops Complaint; Quarterback Reinstated

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As far as the law is concerned, Treon Harris is innocent. There's no reason for any of us to think we know better

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

We don't know what happened, if anything happened at all, between Treon Harris and the woman who initially accused him of sexual battery -- and I say that not in an accusatory way. It's important to say that, both for Harris' sake and for the woman who withdrew her complaint against Harris and cleared the way for Harris to be reinstated to the University of Florida and the Gators football team.

First, the woman at the center of all of this. Perhaps she took it all back because something did happen, but she was afraid of the consequences if she pursued the case. This would not make Florida unique among SEC schools, by the way; the SEC school where a woman did not feel threatened by doing this would be the exception. Maybe she did make it all up. Maybe the situation was more complicated than it seems.

But we should keep this in mind: If this is a case where the alleged victim lied about this, it is by far in the minority of sexual assault cases. This does not prove anything, one way or the other, about future victims of sexual assault, and we can't allow it to color our views of them. It's hard enough for women in this country who have been the victims of these kinds of crimes to step forward. Allowing the withdrawal of one high-profile complaint to make it any harder would be a grave injustice to thousands of future victims.

It's also not fair to Treon Harris to speculate about any of this. As of now, there is no one accusing him of having done anything wrong. This is not the Jameis Winston case, which collapsed amid a tragedy of errors by prosecutors and police and never saw the alleged victim withdraw her complaint with finality. There now appears to be no one left with any reason to accuse Harris, and anything beyond that is simply suspicion that, "well, someone complained, so something must have happened." That won't do. As far as the justice system is concerned, Harris is innocent. And we currently have no reason to doubt that conclusion.

So let Harris focus on football now. There's absolutely no reason that the school shouldn't reinstate him. We'll move on, not knowing exactly what happened, and not having any reason to believe that we know. Sexual assault cases all too often end with this kind of murky result; we should do everything in our power to fix that. But continuing to hold a grudge against Harris, or letting this increase the skepticism that already tragically faces women who make legitimate complaints, will not help in that goal. It won't help anything at all.